Health & Safety Matters: Working at Height, Training, Accident Reporting
Working at Height
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated guidance for schools on working at height. The guidance was first developed three years ago by the South West Provincial Employers Education Safety Officers Group and was based on real accidents involving staff and students. The guidance can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/falls/casestudies/schoolguidance.htm.
It’s important to remember that teachers should not stand on stools or tables to put up notices or posters, close windows or to do any other task that involves them working at height. (Nor should they ask students to do so.) If the job needs doing then it’s the duty of the school to provide appropriate equipment.
Support and Training for Safety Representatives
The TUC has launched a new charter to enhance the role of safety representatives in the workplace. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: 'The proposals in our charter will help employers to consult with their workforce on health and safety issues. Most of these simply involve enforcing the existing legal obligations on employers which at present are often ignored’. It’s an established fact that schools with an active Safety Representative have fewer accidents and are generally safer working environments than those without.
The TUC has also issued a revised copy of the “1977 Safety Representatives and Consultation Regulations,” sometimes know as the Brown Book. This is an essential document for all school H&S reps. It may be downloaded from the TUC website or ordered free from TUC publications by ringing 020 7467 1294.
The next training course for school safety representatives will take place at the NUT’s national training centre, Stoke Rochford Hall, near Grantham, from 9 to 13 March 2009. School H&S reps, or School reps who are acting as safety reps, are urged to attend this excellent course if they have not already done so.
Details and application forms are available from the NUT Membership and Communications Department on (020) 7380 4781/4837, or apply online at: www.teachers.org.uk or email enquiries.
Schools have a duty to report all accidents to the CYPS health and safety section, yet it’s clear from the published statistics that some fail to do so. If you or one of your students have an accident at school then make sure that it is recorded and reported on an SO2 form. The purpose of this is not to point the blame but to allow CYPS to identify weaknesses in procedures and target training effectively.